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G - Association Update

I have been updating the the G (England) ARM with the latest changes on the Hills-Database. This ARM hasn’t been uploaded to the SOTA Website yet, but I suspect that it will be soon. This ARM is dated 2nd March 2021 which is SOTA’s 19th Birthday. The Database should be updated with these changes at some point between now and 31st August.

As most of you know the main change is that due to a recent RHB survey, Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 is no longer a Marilyn and after 31st August will no longer be a SOTA summit. Here’s a list of other changes also.

Bardon Hill G/CE-004 - Height, grid reference and prominence changed.

Wendover Woods G/CE-005 - Height and grid reference changed.

High Willhays G/DC-001 - Height changed.

Skiddaw G/LD-004 - Height and prominence changed.

Pillar G/LD-006 - Height and prominence changed.

Watch Hill G/LD-054 - Height and prominence changed.

Burnhope Seat G/NP-003 - Height and prominence changed.

Dodd Fell Hill G/NP-016 - Grid reference changed.

Birks Fell G/NP-031 - Height and prominence changed.

Wilmington Hill G/SE-011 - Prominence changed.

Detling Hill G/SE-013 - Height, grid reference and prominence changed.

Cliffe Hill G/SE-014 - Height changed. Interestingly for this summit, the prominence on Hills-Database is now 149.8m so in theory would no longer be a Marilyn and therefore no longer a SOTA summit. However due to potential marginal error at the col, the RHB have left this summit as a Marilyn for the time being so this summit for now will be kept in the SOTA programme. To save any confusion I have left the prominence in the ARM as 150m. This summit is one that I will need to keep an eye on because I think it is likely that the RHB could at some point do a more accurate survey at this summit and col which could possibly mean this summit no longer being a Marilyn and therefore would have to be removed from the SOTA programme at a later date.

G/SP-014 - Summit name has been amended from Longridge Fell to Longridge Fell - Spire Hill.

Bishop Wilton Wold G/TW-004 - Height changed.

Jimmy M0HGY
G - Association Manager

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Thanks, Jimmy.
73 to you both, Richard G4ERP

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Out of interest, do people get to keep their points for past activations/chasing of these summits?

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Yes

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Hi Sara, yes when you activate a SOTA summit that was valid at the time, but is now no longer valid you do keep your points from when you activated that summit. I have activated quite a few SOTA summits myself that were valid at the time, but are no no longer valid and for these SOTA summits I still have the points for these. I could also activate Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 anytime between now and 31st August and would be able to still get 1 point for this and this point will be kept. However on the other hand, if I activated this summit now, my activation and my point also would be deleted as it would be a breach of the current Lockdown rules.

Jimmy M0HGY
G - Association Manager

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That’s good to know, thank you!

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I understand that I will keep my points for activating Cheriton Hill when it is delisted but does it remain on my uniques summits list? I would not be pleased (stronger comments deleted) if my very hard earned ‘500 unique summits activated’ achievement of last September slipped to 499! Please reassure me…
Viki

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Hi Viki, Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 will remain on your summits unique after it has been deleted.
I’ve activated quite a few SOTA summits that are no longer valid SOTA summits and all of which remain on the summits unique list.

Jimmy
G - Association Manager

Hi Jimmy

As G association manager, are you able to offer an update as to when us G activators can return to English Hills please for SOTA?? Is recreation allowed from the 8th of March?? Or do we fall into the 29th of March date??

It seems you can sit on a bench as of the 8th of March with a friend and can have a coffee, so can we sit on a bench at the top of a SOTA Hill?? I ask as I have said hill on my doorstep that I visit on a twice weekly basis when walking the dog!

Many thanks

Matt G8XYJ

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The following is my own personal viewpoint having read the published document, and has not been properly discussed yet with MT or the G AM

Looking at the published guidance, I think it will be more like either 12th April or 17th May Matt, for “normality” to resume as regards SOTA activating.

Outdoor recreation is allowed again from 8th March, but unnecessary travel still is not. That probably does open up that rare possibility of walking to a SOTA summit from your home (if you can), but nothing more. 29th March looks like we can start using our cars again to go activating, but we’re under “minimise travel” then - so looks pretty similar to November when you could take a short journey in your car (within your home council area) for outdoor recreation.

Step 2 on 12th April appears extremely nuanced! We’re still under “minimise travel” - so would appear to be no change from the second part (29 March) of Step 1. However, ‘staycations’ within England are allowed from this date - which seems a bit of a contradiction. So maybe you can travel to a SOTA summit within your home area - or within the area you happen to be on holiday at??!!

I imagine we’ll need to wait for the Government to collect that first set of impact data and make their announcements before we know exactly what we can and can’t do from 12th April - or indeed if Step 2 remains at that date.

Step 3 on 17th May (as it stands) would seem to be the earliest that that we can be sure that “normal” SOTA activating behaviours can resume.

And again - this is not official MT position (not properly discussed yet) or based on any conversation with the G AM. Yes he lives here :slight_smile: but he makes himself VERY unavailable while working from home in his office (that used to be known as our conservatory).

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Cheers for the detailed reply Tom

In terms of the 8th of March, I could easily cycle/walk to G/WB-012 or G/WB-018 from my QTH. WB12 is slightly different in that the forestry commission have kept their car parks open and have encouraged people from the area to use their forests for exercise (Local press and social media channels etc) hence why the dog gets so may walks in the forests of High Vinnals.

I can wait, I am not desperate, but on my days off it would be nice to do some SOTA as it helps to pass the time and of course is good for the mental and physical health.

I suspect we will know more by the 8th of March, which of course will give the MT time to formulate their official guidance

Fair play to Jimmy as well, I found WFH so distracting!! Really have to tell myself to concentrate and get the work done, thankfully it is only once or twice a week!!

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Just to emphasise from the G government guidance (Spring 2021 update section):

England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in this guidance.

So during step 1 of the G lock-down relaxation (i.e. 8th March / 29th March into April) we are still expected to “stay at home”, but with some opportunity for outdoor recreation. My inference is that we are still expected to keep time away from home to a minimum. Therefore even if you have local summits you can activate by walking / cycling / short drive from home probably you should not contemplate a very long stay on summit.

Some activators we contacted recently had quite long summits stays (e.g. about an hour, +/-) and I’m not sure that will be compatible with the updated restrictions even.

Also some activators had driven a distance which, to us, did not seem compatible with the local-only restrictions, which will still be in force over step 1.

As noted this is still under review by the G AM and others.

Refs.


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Hi Matt, just seen this now and currently on my lunch break, will be returning to work shortly. As per my dad Tom M1EYP’s post and Simon G4TJC’s post, this is all currently discussion by SOTA MT who are keeping me informed also. Once we’ve all read through and fully understood the Government Guidelines regarding recreation and travelling, we will then advise what this will mean in terms of activating SOTA summits in England.

Jimmy M0HGY
G - Association Manager

Looking at the COVID-19 Response document, there is indeed some ambiguity in Step 2 which allows holidays in self-contained accomodation (paragraph 110) but encourages people to minimise domestic travel (paragraph 115). The summary table on page 43 also shows “minimise travel” in Step 1 but that has been removed for Step 2.

I am all in favour of the MT taking a strong line where something is clearly against the law, but please may I request that you are not too prescriptive in interpreting guidance which in this case appears to be designed to allow some flexibility?

73, John M0VCM

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That’s how we’ve always approached these situations. We’ve only advised against activating when doing so would likely bring the SOTA programme into disrepute - which from 5th January to present was/is definitely the case. At other times, we’ve kept the programme open but required participants to observe whatever local restrictions they had in place at the time. In any period of lockdown where “outdoor recreation” is forbidden, that obviously has to mean “no SOTA”!

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SOTA has 185 Associations. Basically the MT depends on the AMs of these Associations to inform the MT of concerns over activations in those Associations that do not conform to local regulations, whether it be a matter of illegal access or ignoring local lockdown regulations. The MT then reviews the evidence and if necessary takes action. In the case of lockdown regulations the MT are anxious to forestall the negative publicity that could arise from a high profile case involving SOTA, bearing in mind that the police have been taking a very conservative stance in some Associations. Such negative publicity could impact on the freedom to activate. Remember, John, that several members of the MT are also keen activators!

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It would seem to me from looking at Para 93 in the just published guidance, that ‘recreation’ is now permitted but under the Stay at Home/exercise locally rule from 8 March. FWIW, I interpret that as if you’re lucky enough to have a local SOTA summit, then go for it, but perhaps do it discreetly. (That’s you, Tom & Jimmy, OK for Shining Tor! Hi)
Yes, the ‘minimise travel’ advisory is there from 29 March & 12 April, but all the media I’ve seen today seem to think that any travel from 29 March is OK. Ambiguous, indeed.
Most of us will miss this year’s early Bonus season, so there will be a rush come 1 December to claw back those points which we otherwise could have got now. As November is a winter month, how about bringing forward the Bonus start date to 1 November, for this year only. It would ease the pressure just before the start of the usual festive madness. Just a thought.

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What if the bonus is happy where it is and doesn’t want to move?

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From 8 March, the rules on exercise and travel are exactly as they are now. The only difference is that recreation is allowed as a reason to be out. I’m not using my car for anything other than “essential travel” - work and shopping. I might indeed do Shining Tor after 8 March - but it will be a long walk from home! Gun and Cloud will be more likely because both are on my commute route to work - and we’re back in on the 8th - schools being a priority for reopening (but teachers not a priority for vaccinating, weirdly).

As for moving the bonus, that would also require asking the January to mid-March weather systems to hold off their behaviour until November too - either that or rewrite the seasonal bonus rationale in the G Association Reference Manual. I might suggest that to the Association Manager. Then again, I’ve got a bit of a headache, and would rather not have a load of earache to accompany it.

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Thank you Tom and Brian.

That helps me understand the approach the MT are taking here.

73, John M0VCM

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